Do You Like Adventure?

Well I’ve got three of them for you! My latest post on the Civilized Travel site shares my 3 favorite off the beaten path adventures and tells you how you can explore these spectacular places, too.

See how this…








add up to one big adventure in the southeastern US. What are you waiting for? Go check it out and then join me the next time we venture out into the wild!


Fiery Gizzard Trail: the winter edition

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.” -Anne Frank


We spent the first day of 2012 on one of our favorite trails. I’ve blogged about it before and you can see those posts here and here.

The unseasonably warm weather made for a perfect hike yesterday. Everyone had a wonderful time. If you’ve never hiked this trail before, you definitely should if you ever get the chance!

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” -Rabindranath Tagore

20120102-092202.jpg “Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energies, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” -John Muir










Wishing you all a new year filled with peace and love.

Fiery Gizzard Trail to Sycamore Falls

Today we hiked the portion of Fiery Gizzard trail that leads to Sycamore Falls.  You can see more of the complete trail here from when we hiked the whole darn thing last year ;o)

Love.this.trail.  Just love it.  It was finally cool enough to hike a bit without being overcome by heat stroke.  Lovely day…love my life…love my fam!  Enjoy.

5.30.09: Fiery Gizzard Trail, Monteagle TN

Waterfalls, gorges, breathtaking views, streams, forests and boulders the size of houses.  This trail has it all. The Fiery Gizzard Trail has been rated as one of the best in the Southeastern United States and one of the most challenging in all of Tennessee. 13 grueling miles encompassing about 1000 feet in elevation change…and the verdict is…this trail really is AMAZING.   The views, gorges, waterfalls, streams and forest are totally worth the strenuous hike.  We spent roughly 9 hours on the trail and I’m completely worn out, but again, totally worth it.  This hike is difficult and I would not recommend it for beginners or young kids (unless they are getting a free ride in a backpack!). Since I’m too tired to think, much less type, here are some descriptions and pictures.  Seriously, my arms and hands are still shaking in agony.  Oh, and The River Monster did awesome and really enjoyed the day.  We made sure he had plenty of play time where he could get in the water and run on the trail.  He’s still talking about the “wawa” (waterfalls):

Description of the trail from FSCSRA:

This thirteen mile one-way trail features cascading streams, numerous waterfalls, panoramic overlooks, extremely rocky gorges, gentle slopes and lush woodlands.  This trail is one of the most diverse and beautiful in the state and has been ranked as one of the top twenty-five backpacking trails in the U.S. by Backpacker Magazine.

Description taken from the map:

 This trail is perhaps one of the most divers and beautiful in Tennessee. The section which starts at the Grundy Forest Natural Area picnic shelter and climbs the plateau to Raven Point is possibly on of the most rugged and difficult trails in Tennessee.  The terrain in the gorge is steep and extremely rocky.  The millions of rocks you must step on, or across, all seem to move as you step on them, making the footing very precarious.  The section from Raven Point to Foster Falls is a completely different sort of experience.  A full 90 % of this section is on the easy terrain of gentle slopes and flatness on top of the Cumberland Plateau.  An exception to this is the 10 % which crosses Laurel Branch Gorge.  The trail drops precipitously into theis 200′-deep tributary of Little Gizzard Creek and climbs very steeply out after fording the rocky stream.


We actually began our hike at Foster Falls and ended the trail at Grundy Forest.  I prefer it this way as my favorite section is the part leading to Grundy forest…the portion towards Foster Falls is a bit boring in my opinion.  It’s always nice to finish on a high note 😉






Ooh, nice view:


Hey honey, watch your step:



Splash break:


The lunch stop:


After about 10 miles and 1000 feet in elevation change, we had to take a break to rest our feet and to cool off.

Ahrg, urhg..uh, oooh…


…ahhhhhh, spring fed creek water (read: cold) feels nice and numbing…


We continued onward with one motivation in mind…the upcoming blue hole that happens to be an awesome swimming spot.



 Taking a break:


Could there have been a more goofy picture of me?  Whatever, I’ll take what I can get since I’m the one normally behind the camera:


The swimming hole, FI-NAL-LY:


At the top of Foster Falls:



Wow.  Now THAT was a hike. I’ll be adding this one to the “take a hike” tab.  Now, I need to go lie down with a cold drink 🙂